By Kyle Kensing
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 17, 2004
Three members of the UA men's tennis team head west today to face former and current college stars in this weekend's USTA Futures in Costa Mesa, Calif.
UA sophomore Jason Labrosse and freshmen Bruno Alcala and Mitchell Brown will begin competition this afternoon in the event, an amateur invitational tournament put on by the United States Tennis Association at the Costa Mesa Athletic Club featuring players from across the nation.
USTA Futures is the first of five fall tournaments UA players will compete in to prepare for the 2005 season.
"Futures gives our guys some competition to get them ready for the spring," said Bill Wright, UA head coach and 2004 Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Coach of the Year.
The fall tournaments are key in improving UA for NCAA play, which kicks off in January, Wright said.
"A good performance this weekend can help them boost their confidence, just like all our preseason play," he said.
For freshmen Alcala and Brown, Futures is their first exposure to collegiate tennis. Labrosse, a native of Montreal, is the lone returning Wildcat participating in this weekend's event.
Wright said he was excited the young trio has this opportunity at early year competition.
Arizona aims to improve upon a solid season. Last year, the Wildcats finished ranked 24th in the national polls after a second-round loss to Florida in the NCAA Championship Tournament.
Alcala, Brown and Labrosse will join nationally-ranked teammates Colin O'Grady and Roger Matalonga in pursuit of a Pac-8 title and another trip to the NCAA tournament.
Last year, Arizona battled USC, UCLA, Stanford and Washington for league supremacy in the top-heavy conference. It should be more of the same in the spring, as USC and UCLA both return top-notch squads.
While performing well now is important, Wright said the overall emphasis of this weekend is improvement for the season.
"It'll be a good workout," he said.